Would you be interested in a water resistant iPhone? [Poll]

Would you be interested in a water resistant iPhone? Samsung has just launched a rugged, water resistant version of their flagship Galaxy S4 – be sure to check out Android Central's review – but they aren't the first OEM to dabble with a high-profile water resistant device either. Sony's recent high end offerings the Xperia Z and Xperia Tablet Z have both had this ability, along with a host of 2012 devices. Using a phone in or near water seems like a strange notion for many, but for some folks being able to withstand the wet stuff is essential. Previously, those people would have to settle for a lower end offering in some chunky, rough and tough package. With Samsung and Sony leading the way, would water resistance be a welcome addition to the iPhone?

While Samsung has altered the physical appearance of the Galaxy S4 with the launch of the Active, Sony's Xperia Z is a very different affair. It's all glass and metal, very sleek, with no hint of it's water repelling abilities. Both manufacturers are pretty serious about the capabilities of their respective devices too. Back at IFA 2012 in Berlin, I recall vividly a Sony display at their booth where some of their then current devices were sat under what's best described as a waterfall. Then, at Samsung Premiere in London, the Active was happily displayed sitting at the bottom of a tank of water.

There are certain design compromises that need to be met to keep water from entering a smartphone, but as Samsung and Sony have both proved, it's doable while still creating an attractive looking device. Apple could no doubts easily achieve similar results, but the Lightning port for example would probably need covering with some kind of flap. But for those outdoors types, the iPhone isn't a sensible choice at the moment, so add in a little water resistance and Apple could have a whole new type of customer. What do you guys think though? Would you get excited if future iPhones were water resistant, or is it something you could care less for? Drop your vote in the poll up top and your thoughts in the comments below!

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Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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Reader comments

Would you be interested in a water resistant iPhone? [Poll]


This is exactly what I was thinking. Any extra protection against the water would be a good thing in my book. Even if you don't plan on using your phone actually in water.

Meh.. There are nice water tight cases for the iPhone that work well.. Bulky is the only reason most hesitate.. other than that, I don't think it's all that special..

It's a VERY niche market.. It's one of those oooooooo, me to, features.. Reminds me of all those features on the Galaxy S4 that most wont use, but 'nice to haves'... kinda.. At least it would be slightly useful if I dropped mine in a toilette. It does happen..

I don't expect Apple to jump on this one.. could be wrong..

People who live where it rains are not a "niche" market. Sorry for all you folks in the desert, but rain & snow happen...

Also - some places have beaches and lakes and rivers too. And pools. Just because I am *near* water doesn't mean I am using my phone under water. But I am prone to splashes.

On top of that, I have had a phone just barely miss being destroyed by a spilled glass of water at a restaurant.

Just because I wouldn't mind water resistance in my iPhone doesn't mean I want to water ski and scuba dive with it.

Less worry = less worry

"It's a Very niche market..."

lol, what a joke. You think a phone that isn't destroyed when water hits it only caters to a niche market. You don't drink water? You don't take showers, wash your hands, cook, clean with water, have friends who spill things at restaurants or your house, live in a place where this thing called rain happens, ever go outside...???

It's amazing how your distaste for Samsung leads you to say that a feature as useful as the phone being resistant to water damage only caters to a niche market and that there's already a case for that!

A more durable iPhone is a better iPhone, period.

Poll answers have needless qualifiers. Just ask "Are you interested?" and give the answers "yes" or "no." My answer is yes but it's not changing how i use the phone. It's not "possibly i'd have to use it first." I don't have to use it the answer is"yes." But it's not gonna change the way i use the phone. I passed on the poll. lol.

Agree. The second and fourth answers are stupid. You would have to "try it first" to determine if water resistance is a good feature??? And just an FYI, just because a person wants his/her phone to be water resistant, doesn't mean they plan on swimming with their iPhone in their pocket!

I think the voting result speaks for itself, and the option "Definitely! Would change how I use it!" is definitely apt. By changing the way I use it, I don't mean I'll start using it in the pool. I mean more basic things. Like being able to use your phone without worry when you're caught in pouring rain without shelter for one.

I think Sony with the Xperia Z has proved that it is possible to make a phone water resistant and still look good. If anyone can do it better, it's probably Apple. (Sorry, but I'm not digging the S4 active) And frankly this is something I hope more manufacturer will do for their flagship devices.

Wait...you've offered me a feature with no engineering trade-off or downside? Then the answer is of course I want it! However, in truth, there's always some sort of downside. What is it; price weight, look...it's something.

Maybe a better question would be how much would I pay for it? For me, of course I'd take it, but I'm not sure I'd be willing to pay anything for it.

One downside is mentioned in the article. Having some sort of flap covering the lightning port is a downside. I've had phones/protectors that have a flap to keep out dirt and it is a slight pain whenever you want to charge. A wireless charging option like my old Palm Pre would be a most welcome addition. Takes a bit longer to charge, but it is sweet!

Another potential downside is possible lesser sound quality or volume from speakers/microphone. Or maybe even the size of the phone, although I don't think that would be an issue.

I hate using my phone in the rain, water resistance would change that. People who work outside would certainly find this attractive. For now it sucks when it's raining and I have to go somewhere, I have to think about where to best protect my phone from the water before I get out of my vehicle and head to the house, store, work, etc.
Also, I do a lot of fishing. It'd be nice to not be so paranoid then too.
How about people who live in high humidity climates? Helpful there too, like south/central and east and costal Texas areas (where I live).
If jump all over a water resistant iPhone and never look back!

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The iPhone is obviously design in California where it's sunny and warm. Just compare it to Lumia 920, a phone that is designed in Finland with winter in mind (sensitive to gloves and a low-light camera for the long winter nights).

I don't see Apple every implementing anything against the cold or anything extreme. Not their style. But I'm fine with that.

Other than cost, what ARE the compromises of having a water resistant phone? As it stands, why wouldn't you want a water resistant phone, it's not like you HAVE to use it in water because of this feature, but just acts as a safeguard.

Weight and looks, probably.

A water resistant version would probably be thicker, and might have a slightly clunkier design.

Unless something like the liquipel coating actually works to the point that phone designers would guarantee it.

Given the trouble Apple got itself into not all that long ago (refusing to honour warranties because the water sensors on iPhones were recording false positives - and then losing in court), I'd think Apple would be keen on this too.
As noted above, this feature isn't because people might be using their phones while swimming or showering or whatever, but because sometimes we find ourselves outside - or just in a humid climate. If the technology is there to protect our investments, why not include it?

I guess with Lifeproof and Otterbox it's a moot point but I would still like to see them do it.

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Waterproof? Not if the trade-off is a bulky, heavy, ugly phone. I have used many cases, but always go back to naked... I just like the look and feel of the iPhone as it is. Most of the time, my phone is not in a case. When I am going somewhere where my phone is more likely to be exposed to drops or spills (camping, hiking, kayaking, bars, etc) I throw it in my LifeProof case. If Apple can provide the same protection without sacrificing design, count me in. Hell... I'd even pay for it.

If it's free, sure. But I'm not laying out any more money. Phone manufacturers and phone companies are already getting way too much from me.

It won't change the way I use the phone and I have never lost a phone because of water. So it's not that important to me.

I bought LifeProof cases for both myself and my wife after I heard our niece's kid dunked their iPhone in a glass of water. We have two toddlers, and one loves to experiment with water. The side benefits: being able to photograph them at a splash pad, or when we take them swimming; using the iPhone when it's raining or snowing. ...and better than having to go to the Genius bar and paying $200 for a refurbished replacement phone.

Eh, I wouldn't buy a phone because of it and I wouldn't pay more for it but it'd be nice to have.

I have an Otterbox Armor now so I'm already protected.

If Apple waterproofs some future iPhone, they might not tell anybody. Because if Apple announces that the iPhone 5S is waterproof, 10% of all iPhone 5S owners will dunk them. Guaranteed. And that's just not a good idea, waterproof or not.